Saturday, May 23, 2009

Philological Philanthropy


Theater Review|'The Philanthropist'

I am at a loss for words on this one; maybe because the play was light, maybe because I was drunk and slept through the last scene of the first act. In any event, Christopher Hampton's play about a 70's philology professor who's naivete is mistaken for animosity was cute. Not incredibly moving, intriguing, and at some times very callow (Hampton was only 23 when he wrote it, after all), the play managed to illicit a few laughs and smiles. Matthew Broderick was convincing enough, although at times he resorted to being too dry, perhaps mistaking the emotion for the callus simplicity needed for the role. 

Design-wise, the production was decent. The set was very, very tall (which seems to be a trademark of the American Airlines Theater) and minimal. It's saved, though by the illuminating letters across the top of walls, which aided in scene changes by spelling out one of the seven deadly sins (each character is supposed to represent one). The character Celia's costumes were very 60's London Mary Quant-esque, while Braham's multi-colored, bell bottom, three-piece suit was, while charming, a little more late 70's. 

In any event, I have no more to say about this production (mainly because last night is a bit of a blur by now), but I will point you in the direction of the New York Times review. It's harsh, but points out what's wrong with this production.    

Ben Brantley's Review

THE PHILANTHROPIST

By Christopher Hampton; directed by David Grindley; sets by Tim Shortall; costumes by Tobin Ost; lighting by Rick Fisher; sound by Gregory Clarke; dialect coach, Gillian Lane-Plescia; associate artistic director, Scott Ellis. Presented by the Roundabout Theater CompanyTodd Haimes, artistic director. At the American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, (212) 719-1300. Through June 28. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

WITH: Matthew Broderick (Philip), Jonathan Cake (Braham), Anna Madeley (Celia),Steven Weber (Donald), Tate Ellington (John), Jennifer Mudge (Araminta) and Samantha Soule (Elizabeth)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I challenge Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to spend the obscene reserves held by their 'Jolie-Pitt' Foundation on legitimate efficient 'humanitarian' work or turn the funds over to others who will. To date, they have taken in $22,000,000 on the sale of baby photos alone, another 6 or 7 figures from other sources, and spent or granted only a fraction of that on 'humanitarian' work or 'good will' of any kind. The rest so far, has been spent on PR campaigns, plane rides, and super-high end accomodations for Brad and Angie in exotic locations around the world. I challenge them to meet the criteria of a legitimate charity, operate with a reasonable overhead, open their books to prove it, and get their 'foundation' worthy of a decent rating by an independent watchdog like Charitywatch.org. Otherwise, to stop selling baby photos for their own 'charity' and stop seeking publicity for donations made in their own name to their own foundation/travel/PR firm shortly before or after the premier of their latest film or DVD release. I challenge Brad Pitt to do the same with his 'Make it right' Foundation. Which to date, has not met the criteria of a legitimate charity or been given a decent rating by ANY independent charity watchdog. Otherwise, to stop competing with 'Habitat for Humanity' for PR, credit, and funding. Who by the way have been building homes for the less fortunate in every major city including New Orleans for decades. 'Habitat for Humanity' has been 'Top Rated' for years by charitywatch.org and others. They operate with a low overhead, volunteer workforce, and donated materials. No similar effort can match their progress hour for hour or dollar for dollar. They don't even come close. Unlike 'Make it right', the homes built by 'Habitat' don't sit vacant. They don't exclude by cost, lower income families. They are allocated and built specifically for the less fortunate who take part in the building process and move in immediately upon completion. 'Habitat' works in every major city including New Orleans. It puts 'Make it right' to shame. In fact, hundreds of legitimate charities have been given good-excellent ratings by Charitywatch.org and other independent watchdog groups. By contrast, the vast, overwhelming majority of celebrity 'foundations' have been rated poorly, fair, or not rated at all. They are inefficient, corrupt, focus heavily on PR, and operate with shady, self-serving, misleading accounting practices. They usually don't even meet the criteria of a legitimate charity. Still, they have the nerve to self-audit, self-praise, mislead the donor/fan base, seek funding from a number of sources including ordinary people, compete with legitimate charities, and cash in on maximum PR for their inefficient 'humanitarian' efforts. Its not right.

TheNYCourier said...

What?